Some Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) employees working with Sino-Zimbabwe, a company contracted to construct two additional turbines at Kariba Dam to beat the country’s electricity woes, blame bad workmanship by the Chinese for the low water levels now affecting electricity production, plunging the country into darkness.
The Chinese allegedly allowed more water to pass through the bridge to enable them to do their work but in the process creating the low water levels that are now affecting the country.
Workers at Sino-Zimbabwe are sure that poor workmanship by the Chinese has led to the current electricity woes currently affecting the country. The government is blaming the problem on low water levels but Zimbabwe received more than enough rain last season to possibly boost the capacity of Kariba Dam.
Among the workers, Studio 7 spoke with is a ZESA engineer based in Kariba. He refused to be named but told Studio 7 there is more to the electricity crisis in the country than what people are being made to believe.
He said the problem started when the Chinese, who are in charge of the project, instructed that more than enough water be allowed downstream through the newly-built huge turbines constructed by the same company on the Zambian side to allow them room to build two additional turbines on the Zimbabwean side.
This lowered the level of water, which is now affecting power generation thereby plunging the two countries into darkness.
Another Sino-Zimbabwe employee, who only wanted to be identified as Shumba, said the other problem is that the Chinese allowed the newly-constructed turbines on the Zambian side to sap more water from the Zimbabwean side, reducing the water levels to the extent where they affected electricity production.
This resulted in some of the turbines being eliminated from the electricity generation process as they could not all work at the same time as they are positioned at different levels.
Sino-Zimbabwe refused to comment but former Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri of MDC-T said it is clear that water is not naturally absent from Kariba Dam especially since the country received enough rainfall last season.
The Chinese are constructing two turbines and a new power station in Kariba as Harare seeks to boost power generation in the country. This is in addition to the six turbines that were built by the Italians during the construction of the dam
Some engineers, including the Zesa one who does not want to be named, say Zimbabwe should have contracted the Italians to do the job.
Zesa spokesman Fullard Gwasira dismissed the assertions by the workers saying their allegations are mischievous.
Engineer Mudzuri said the government should do all it can to reduce energy costs in the country while addressing the current crisis.
The country is experiencing serious power shortages that have affected ordinary people and industry alike. Most cities and towns are getting electricity for six hours only per day with some companies now being forced to work during shifts to beat the blackouts.